Beer Profile: Stoudt’s Old Abominable Barley Wine

Profiled by Ken Carman for Professor Goodales

I love Barley Wine. I paid almost $20 for this champagne bottle of Abomniable… explaining why I’m kind of pissed. This had all the markings of a great Barley Wine packaging-wise, but it was Barley Wine light: mouthfeel, taste, aroma-wise. Looks good: solid gold, a bit foggy probably due to chill, plenty of head with a mostly pillow to it. So far so good, though the pour seemed a little light gravity-wise. But then I hit the aroma. Hops: some, not much else. Usually there’s some sweet complexity to the nose that damn near drags me into the bottle. The hops were citrus-y. I usually resist fruit comparisons because it does true fruit beers a disfavor, but this was that Centennial-like citrus some compare to grapefruit. I do a grapefruit ale. trust me: not the same. Where the hell is the alcohol? Where’s the body? This was more a nice, somewhat sweet, IPA over all. Do not spend 20 on this. It’s not worth it if you’re looking for Barley Wine.

I looked over several reviews and found the color seems to vary. Perhaps the malt profile varies from batch to batch, though I seemed consistent with other reviews otherwise. Note: I might have given a better review if the price wasn’t a bit out of line for the product. Regardless of the bottle size I expect one hell of a Barley Wine for 20. I’m one of the supplier’s for Big Bob’s Barley Wine bash in Pensacola and you can get better, more punchy, Barley Wines for less than 20, and in large bottles too. Might qualify as an American-hopped English of the style, though the body should be more substantial in that case.